Being a game that is based on finding hidden characters and objects, Hidden Folks is filled to the brim with detail. The goal is, as you would expect, to find hidden targets which are thankfully displayed at the bottom of the screen to let you know who and what you’re looking for. You probably wonder why it says “what”? Well, because apart from looking for people, you will be scouring the map to look for objects and even animals. On one map you may be looking for a guitar and on another one, you’re looking for a scorpion! With a simple click and drag, the player is able to move around the map effortlessly. And with the mouse wheel, it’s easy enough to zoom in and out which will aid you in finding the smallest of targets.
So you may think that it will be easy to find the required targets to progress to the next map, right? Well, here comes a little twist that the two developers have added to the gameplay: Instead of just placing the targets around maps, they can be hidden behind things! Almost everything is clickable has its own animation, bringing the game really to life. So be sure to click on anything and everything you come across as you might just find something or someone you need in order to proceed to the next map. And should you get stuck, useful hints are being displayed if you click a target. One thing that the game doesn’t really teach you is that some certain objects can be clicked and dragged to reveal something behind it. (I certainly didn’t know about this till way later and went back to previous maps to find the rest of the hidden targets…)
And unlike a book version, Hidden Folks is dense with little hand-drawn animations which are a delight. Especially when paired with the sound effects which have been provided by the two developers themselves. Think of the sound effects as beat-boxing sounds (or as the developers called it “mouth-originated sound effects”) that get triggered whenever you click on something. It’s a very simple design choice, but very effective and rather funny as well! Although this game can be played alone, it’s a great opportunity to include younger audience as they will surely enjoy to simply click around the map. Just like we did when we tried to find Wally/Waldo in our childhood. Currently there are 17 levels with 3 being worked on at the moment. So hopefully they will be playable soon too.
Overall, it’s a very simple game and it may not be as iconic as “Where is Wally/Waldo?”, but it comes with its own charm which keeps you playing for longer as you go through the maps. There is, however, very little replay value in Hidden Folks and you may find losing your focus here and there. But it’s still is very enjoyable when playing in short sessions during your commute to work or school if you have the mobile version. For the PC users, it’s a great little distraction or if you simply need a change of pace from all those RPG and action adventure games out there.
Adriaan de Jongh and Sylvain Tegroeg developed and published Hidden Folks which is currently available on Steam (PC, Mac, Linux), iOS, tvOS and later on Android.
Screenshots/images © Adriaan de Jongh, Sylvain Tegroeg; taken on the Steam version during personal gameplay.